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Monday, January 4, 2010

The Soloist - Movie Review


Yes, I know this movie is not a new release but I've decided to write about all the new movies I see in 2010, not just the ones I see in the theaters. I noticed this was coming on HBO and wondered if it was any good. By coincidence, one of my friends posted on Facebook that very day "If you haven't seen it and are looking for a thoughtful and hopeful movie that demonstrates power and growth from unexpected friendships, see this film!!" and he gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

So I thought - okay, I'll watch it. Well, I didn't watch it, I recorded it and decided to watch it tonight. It was a good movie - I don't know if I'd give it 5 out of 5. More like 3 out of 5. The performances were great and I really enjoyed the story like but at times the movie was a bit to "artsy" for me and some scenes went on far too long. For instance, there was one scene, when one of the characters is listening to music, he closes his eyes and sees a lot of colors swirling about - that was fine but 5 minutes later, you are about tired of the music and the swirling colors - thank goodness for TiVo and the fast-forward feature. But overall, a very enjoyable movie and it really kept my attention.

The Soloist is a true story (which I didn't know until the very end when they told what happened to the people). It is about Los Angeles newspaper reporter Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr. ), who discovers brilliant street musician Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), and the unique friendship that transforms both their lives. Mr. Lopez needs a story and finds Mr. Ayers and decides to write about him, he finds out that he had attended Julliard but quit in the 2nd year and now he is wondering how this talented man ended up homeless.

It doesn't take too long to find out, once he starts to talk to him, it is clear that Mr. Ayers is dealing with mental illness. We find out later that he hears voices (we can hear what the voices are saying to him).

Mr. Lopez decides he wants to help him, he tries to set him up in an apt., he gets him an audition, etc. The articles he writes about Mr. Ayers develops into articles about the homeless and all the articles are quite popular with the LA Times readers. Later, he writes a book about this experience and friendship and that eventually became this movie.

One of my favorite lines is after Lopez becomes kind of frustrated in not knowing what to do to help Ayers, he is told to not to try to fix him/help him, just be there for him and be his friend. That is the true definition of friendship.

I do recommend this movie but be prepared for the "artsy" scenes and have your remote handy to get through some of the scenes that should have been cut a wee bit shorter. Overall, a very good movie that kind of sticks in your mind.
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